The annual Naish Paddle Challenge is happening in Hood River this weekend! The biggest names in SUP will converge on our once-sleepy town for a shot at big SUP money and a chance to ride one of the top three downwind locations in the world. One of the coolest parts of this event is that while there is definitely an elite class of riders who will undoubtedly take the front in these races and events, anyone can enter, which means practically any serious paddler can compete head-to-head with folks like Kai Lenny and Connor Baxter! How many sports do that???

Even if you aren’t planning on being in the water, the race course has become a well modified spectator friendly race with plenty of pivot turns and water traffic to enjoy. Check it out, it’s a well run event with the biggest names in SUP in attendance!

http://gorgepaddlechallenge.com/gpc1/

The Rose City SUP Classic: Three hard paddlers on the 4.5 mile course.

The Rose City SUP Classic: Three hard paddlers on the 4.5 mile course. Image by Zoe Downen

This has been my goal for the past year and I’m proud to have reached it this past weekend. I came in 8th place last year in the same event but knew I could have a podium spot with training and focus. I spent this past year working on my stamina and speed, paddled through the winter in all kinds of crappy conditions, lost a few pounds and came in 1st yesterday. I’m extremely proud, I’m extremely tired 🙂

It’s time to set new goals. I’ve got an entirely new SUP division to conquer, although I don’t think the elites are particularly shaking in their flip flops just yet 🙂 Here we go again, game on!

 

Here’s a few events around PDX coming up for SUP riders and racers:

Orange Picnic and Fireworks Spectacular (Aug. 22) – Thank you Alicia Hardin for pointing out this event coming up on Saturday. This is going to be a fun event and a short paddle from Willamette Park or Sellwood Beachpark. Check their site for the details.

Starting Line

Starting Line for the 4 mile race at the SUP Salmon Classic in 2014

Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge (August 22-23) – One of the top 5 world events for SUP racing. The top racers in the world are in town for this event and Hood River is a fantastic place to spend the day (or the weekend!).

SUP Salmon Classic (August 30) – Held on a gorgeous strip of the Columbia River, the SUP Salmon Classic is an entertaining event with racers speeding close to shore multiple times, plus a finish line just a few feet from the main beach. The main site is at Cottonwood Beach near downtown Washougal. The facilities are excellent and the event coordinators did a fantastic job last year incorporating a lot of fun for the race fans.

Oregon Symphony & fireworks at Waterfront park (September 3) – This is not an official event but a fantastic destination for what might be one of the last good night paddles of the season. Most night paddles originate from Willamette Park just before sun down and we head northwest to downtown PDX en masse.

We spent Saturday morning photographing the SUP Salmon Classic races in Washougal, Washington this past Saturday. First, it was a PERFECT morning weather-wise. Second, the event was very well organized and a lot of fun, so thanks to everyone who played a part in the success of the day. Beverly and I had a lot of fun getting to know a couple new folks and photograph the day. More of our images are on Facebook and will likely be added to our photography site in the near future (hey, I only have so much available time!). Here’s a few to whet your appetite though…

 

Starting Line

Starting Line for the 4 mile race.

 

Working hard at the halfway point.

Working hard at the halfway point.

 

Hannah Hill sprinting for the finish line.

Hannah Hill sprinting for the finish line.

 

Spectators enjoying a good finish to the 2 mile rec race

Spectators enjoying a good finish to the 2 mile rec race

 

Hannah Hill showing great form and speed to match

Hannah Hill showing great form and speed to match